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      Thursday 12 Nov 2009

      In relation to the airport seeking the removal of the seats for sale cap, a spokesperson for George Best Belfast City Airport said:

      “Under the terms of the 2008 Planning Agreement it was understood that the seats for sale cap would be lifted if the airport installed a noise monitoring system and secondary radar.

      “These criteria have now been met and the remove of the seats for sale cap is the next step in this process.

      “Belfast City Airport is the only airport in Europe which is restricted by a seats for sale cap.

      “An Examination in Public, a Government White Paper, the Northern Ireland Affairs Select Committee and a ministerial statement all stated that a seats for sale cap was not a suitable measurement of airport activity.

      “The planning agreement allows for 48,000 flights in and out of the airport each year and we are not seeking to increase this figure (The airport expects to fly 41,000 flights in 2009).

      “The planning agreement and the removal of the seats for sale cap are not related to our application to extend the runway and our continued public assurances to campaigners that no larger aircraft would use the airfield if the runway extension was granted.

      “The airport employs 1,500 on site daily and has close ties to the community it serves. The airport has always been completely transparent in all its operations and meets regularly with the Community Forum.